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Benjamin Neelon

Director of the Lerner Center
The Helaine and Sidney Lerner Professor
Sara Benjamin Neelon

Departmental Affiliations

Human Nutrition

Sara Benjamin-Neelon, PhD, JD, MPH, is an attorney and child nutritionist who examines early life predictors of obesity and other chronic diseases with a health equity lens.

Contact Info

615 N. Wolfe Street, Room W3501

Research Interests

Community-based interventions targeting children and families; Domestic and global chronic disease prevention; Epigenetic and environmental changes affecting child growth; Evaluation of natural experiments to create healthier food and physical activity environments; Evaluation of nutrition and physical activity policy change; Food insecurity and health; Health disparities in early life feeding, physical activity, sleep, and stress; Health equity; Policy analysis; Population-based assessment; Social determinants of health.
Experiences & Accomplishments
Mitchell Hamline School of Law
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Ithaca College
Dr. Benjamin Neelon is also an Honorary Senior Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Diet and Activity Research, MRC Epidemiology, University of Cambridge.  Please see: for more information.
Select Publications
Some recent publications:
  • Benjamin-Neelon SE, Bai J, Østbye T, Neelon B, Pate RR, Crainiceanu C. Physical activity and adiposity in a racially diverse cohort of US infants. Obesity. 2020;28(3)631-637. PMCID forthcoming.
  • Benjamin-Neelon SE, Allen CA, Neelon B. Household food security and infant adiposity. Pediatrics. 2020 Sep;146(3):e20193725. doi: 10.1542/peds.2019-3725. PMCID forthcoming.
  • Benjamin-Neelon SE, Neelon B. Associations between maternal and paternal feeding styles of infants in a racially diverse US birth cohort. Pediatric Obesity. 2020; 15(10):e12712. PMCID forthcoming.
  • Gonzalez-Nahm S, Grossman ER, Benjamin-Neelon SE. The role of equity in US state breastfeeding policies. JAMA Pediatrics. 2019 Aug 12. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2019.2582. [Epub ahead of print].
  • Benjamin Neelon SE, White AJ, Vidal AC, Schildkraut JM, Murtha AP, Murphy SK, Kullman SW, Hoyo C. Maternal vitamin D, DNA methylation at imprint regulatory regions, and offspring weight at birth, 1 year, and 3 years. International Journal of Obesity. 2018;42(4):587-593.
Early child care and risk of obesity
Evaluation of South Carolina nutrition and physical activity policy
Licensing laws supporting healthy feeding and active play for infants and toddlers in early care and education
Preventing obesity in infants and toddlers in child care
Analysis of baby friendly hospitals: Assessing coverage among vulnerable communities
Maryland Collaborative to reduce excessive college drinking and related problems
Maryland Statewide Initiative to Reduce College Drinking and Related Problems
Nutrition policy for healthy meals in early childhood: Impacts on diet quality and food waste